Hello. How are you?
Life has changed a lot since we last talked. The pandemic changed us in ways we never realized possible.
For me, I did a complete nose dive into caring for my family and focusing on the things within my reach.
WHY COME BACK NOW?
2022 offers the people an opportunity to take back what's been lost. It's an opportunity to rebuild.
I'm not talking at the federal level. I'm talking about where it really matters.
In our own communities.
As I revamp West Valley Families, my focus will start with the City of Goodyear and the local school districts. Eventually, I'll expand. But this is where I start.
Local government has the biggest impact on our daily lives. The unconscionable, discriminatory and divisive actions of law makers and school officials have prompted residents across the state to get more active and involved.
Locally, Goodyear will hold an election in August. The mayor's seat and 3 council seats are up for grabs.
Even closer to home are school board elections. School boards control what our children are enduring day-after-day. What our kids learn in the classroom and whether they compete on the court is up to a handful of people who sit behind the dias.
Many times, school board decisions are made by people who don't even have children in school.
When lockdowns kicked in 2 years ago, I quickly discovered that a majority of the representatives on the governing board at Buckeye Union High School District did not have children in the district. How could they possibly know what it was like to see our teens lie in bed all day, behind screens, and think they'd come out of this year ok?
The problem is that parents are not running for these seats. In the Liberty Elementary School District, a board member who recently moved here from another state was simply seated on the board as they were running unopposed.
My hope is to motivate parents to run for these open seats and get them filled by people who understand what's happening to the students and teachers. (Find out which school board seats are open here.)
SHARE THE WEALTH
My gift is being able to share my knowledge.
When I started up West Valley Families in 2014, I spent a lot of my time aggregating local events and fun information for families to find in one convenient place. Since then, several social media pages and apps have popped up providing that same information. So there's no need for me to go back to that.
My purpose is bigger in 2022.
What's up next for mandates and restrictions? Will schools will be overcrowded in August? Does my kid really need to take the SAT? (That answer is NO!)
I'll show you how to file a Freedom of Information Act form with your school district. And together we'll take a look a the questions every parent should be asking.
What pressure will businesses have to face? How can the city improve safety services? Where can families in need find help? And how can we help them? This is what's important in 2022.
A NEW GENERATION
A new generation of moms have pulled together an army of motivated parents who are willing to fight for their kids. I consider myself one of them.
I look forward to being part of a process making 2022 much better than the last 2 years. Please join me. It's going to be a worthwhile ride...
Odds are you've heard "AzMERIT". It's the controversial Arizona Statewide Achievement Assessment of English Language Arts and Mathematics. This new test replaces AIMS and it's intentionally harder.
AzMERIT measures students' ability to master the 2010 Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. "The standards are designed to ensure that our students remain competitive in the global market of the 21st century," Arizona Department of Education.
Students in 3rd - 8th grades and high school in Estrella first took the AzMERIT test last spring. Results are just now being delivered.
In August, unofficial results showed disappointment with just 41% of 3rd graders testing proficient and higher.
Test scores are embargoed till the end of this month. Then, the scores will be released to the public and posted on the state's website here. We will report back when we have this information.
Unlike previous years, our schools will not receive letter grades this school year.
SB1289 prohibits A - F Letter Grades for school years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
SB1289 requires the Department to continue to identify schools with “below average levels of performance” or schools which were formerly “D” schools under the A-F Letter Grade System.
CONNECT TO Azmerit
Liberty Elementary School District AzMERIT information here.
AzMERIT Portal here.
Arizona Department of Education AzMERIT link on the WEB
2010 Arizona College and Career Ready Standards on the WEB
School report cards from previous AIMS testing on the WEB
SPRING 2016 TESTING
Spring 2016 AzMERIT Grades 3-8/EOC
Computer-Based Test Window
March 28 – May 6, 2016
*Writing must be completed by April 15, 2016
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Barber is a Goodyear resident resident of almost 20 years and a retired broadcast news journalist. Involved in various nonprofit and city organizations since 2008, Barber has a unique view of what's happening in the West Valley of Arizona.